Tobacco Storage : Once the tobacco is dried, the tobacco is pressed into packages of approximately 1.20 m x 6 m x 0.6 m or stored in barrels with a plastic enclosure. Transit storage or storage prior to processing is usually done in large warehouses. While in storage, tobacco has to be safe from organic corrosion, growth of fungus and bacteria. Incase the area/storage place is susceptible to insect attack then temperature control becomes necessary to kill the insects, for that the temperature has to be controlled below 22°C.
It is a common procedure to recondition the tobacco, that is, to dry the product and then return the proper amount of moisture by 'redrying' after it has been marketed and before it is packed. The purpose is to avoid damage which occurs when the leaf is packed with an excessive moisture content and to ensure proper amount of moisture for aging.
Tobacco Drying Needs Care
Tobacco drying needs extra care, as, under or over drying of tobacco leaf can have following effects :
- Over drying
- Undesirable green colour
- Low sugar content
- Product weight loss
- Undesirable dark colour
- Damage due to mould and bacterial growth
Therefore, tobacco leaves needs to be dried at an equilibrium level in order to maintain the desired quality.
Moisture Control – An Important Requisite to Retain Tobacco Value
Tobacco leaves and cut tobacco is extremely hygroscopic in nature and can easily regain moisture from the surrounding environment. The general practice is to retain the equilibrium moisture content of the stored tobacco at 16% to 19%. For this, a relative humidity of 35% to 45% needs to be maintained inside the storage area in order to maintain their quality. Tobacco leaves have to dried properly before they are packed and marketed.
Having the right moisture and humidity control during tobacco storage can :
- Prevent organic corrosion
- Halt the growth of fungus and bacteria
- Preserve the quality of the stored leaves
- Prevent product weight loss
- Prevent insect contamination